Conservatives Condemn Obamacare’s Worker Freedom

Voice of the People by James J. Devine

After Congressional Budget Office economists reported that the Affordable Care Act will enable American workers the freedom, opportunity and choice to leave the labor force or work fewer hours, Republican politicians and conservative policy analysts launched a campaign to deceive the public about the facts.

Rather than losing their jobs, American people who are dependent upon employer-sponsored health insurance plans will be able to make a wider range of choices, which could will reduce the number of full-time workers by 2.3 million in 2021.

CBO economists wrote that “The estimated reduction stems almost entirely from a net decline in the amount of labor that workers choose to supply, rather than from a net drop in businesses’ demand for labor.”

In 2008, Harvard researchers reported that there were “11 million people who would like to change jobs but are locked into their current job simply to keep their insurance,” while other studies have found that “job-to-job mobility is estimated to increase by as much as 25 percent when alternative group coverage is available.”

After the CBO report came out on Tuesday, critics claimed it was evidence that the health care law is undermining job growth, but that’s not what the CBO actually said.

Americans won’t be losing their jobs, but people who are only working to maintain access to their employer sponsored health insurance plans will be able to leave the workforce or work fewer hours because they can obtain coverage elsewhere.

Republicans, intent of derailing the national health insurance program, have frequently used false information to attack the program or wasted opportunities to empower citizens to gain coverage.

New Jersey could lose $7.6 million in federal funds it received two years ago to help people learn how to sign up for coverage because Gov. Chris Christie failed to devise advertising and other promotional efforts, which are sorely needed by the state’s uninsured residents.

Roughly 780,000 uninsured New Jerseyans qualify for subsidies to help pay for premiums or for free Medicaid coverage, but only 100,000 or 200,000 have signed up so far.

Citizen Action, Rep. Rush Holt (D-N.J.), federal Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop were among numerous groups and individuals urging the governor to spend the money before it is too late during events this week.

A Feb. 20 deadline looms as Christie’s administration dawdles, but more assertive Republicans actually encouraged citizens to ‘opt out’ of Obamacare and some GOP governors rejected federal money to provide expanded Medicaid coverage in their states.

Less dependence upon job-related health insurance coverage will liberate more Americans to start their own businesses or give up low wage employment in favor of greater opportunities. Obamacare made this freedom possible but partisan attacks are intended to make that sound like a bad thing.

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